Uncorrelated Thoughts /kcv

A column by Atty. KCV

  • A Quarantined Birthday and Self Love Rituals

    A QUARANTINED BIRTHDAY. I spent my birthday on lockdown.

    I’m no special snowflake, this story hardly deserves headline real estate at all. An estimate of 20.8 million share my birthday(1), and more than 1/3 of the world’s population(2) or more than 3 billion people from 70 countries have been living under lockdown due to COVID-19. If we put together birthdays from Mid-March to end of June collectively–and divide that by a third, that means around 485 million people have spent their birthdays during the lockdown.

    My quarantined birthday was unusual in many ways. I spent it in our condo; when on normal days I would spend it out of town. I watched a nature documentary; when on normal days I would be swimming in the sea. I received an unusually high number of homemade food deliveries from loving friends; when on normal days, Facebook greetings were enough.

    I’d expected celebrating my dirty 30 doing something else–most likely walwal in a bar with my friends.

    The world has other plans.

    On my 30th year on earth, I treated myself–not with a shot of tequila–but with steaming hot masala chai; while praying that the lockdown would not be extended and things would get better.

    Homemade Masala Chai | Twenty20 by @senkonelly

    Afternoon delight… in the form of chai

    I am purposeful when I brew my tea. I boil hot water, add milk, add some spices: cinnamon, star anise, and saffron; and when the pot is simmering, I add Darjeeling black loose tea leaves for a few minutes before I pour it into an insulated metal teapot.

    “That sure is a lot of work.” my mom said.

    In normal times, I would just douse a Twinings teabag on hot water in haste. Or more accurately, I would just go to the CBTL downstairs our condo and order one chai latte to go.

    But I have all the time in the world now. I’m not doing things just for speed, or convenience. I’m doing it with purpose… I have a body clock that attunes me that it’s time to brew my tea. It’s a self-love ritual.

    And the end product, the masala chai, is my daily afternoon delight.

    A couple of my friends have found their chi in kneading bread. Others found their peace in the form of homemade cold brew cocktails. My slightly overachieving friends, found comfort in daily circuit training practice at home.

    Whatever the ritual you found, keep it. Make it your thing.

    These little rites reaffirm us and nourish our soul, doing wonders to our mental health. These rituals remind us to appreciate the little things, to fill our senses, to appreciate day by day, and to be conscious of how we spend our precious hours.

    Cebu City announced its ECQ will be lifted and GCQ will commence on June 1st. My birthday wish granted.

    I hope when we’re back to the new normal, we won’t forget our self-love rituals.

    We might not realize it, but these rituals had probably saved us.

    Uncorrelated Thoughts by Rachel Arandilla

    (1) – Reader’s Digest – Can You Guess How Many Living People Share Your Birthday?
    (2) – Express UK – Lockdown: Which countries are in lockdown? How many people?

    COVID19 Posts

  • What is My Vocation? How to Navigate a Quarter Life Crisis

    “What is my vocation?”

    It’s something that young people are afraid of answering. Similar to the question of “What do you want to major in when you go to college?” In high school you dread that question because you can’t really be fully informed enough to make such a decision at a young age.

    You listen to voices around you as a young child. Your parents probably told you to choose a career that is financially stable and well compensated. They probably even suggested a few options.

    Does doctor or lawyer sound familiar?

    Influence of Parents

    Deciding what career you’re going to have is a big life decision. It is something your parents are rightly interested in helping you with. But having a good career is just one part of the equation of living a flourishing life.

    It’s not easy to talk about vocation and career. They are two different but related things. In many Asian contexts, the idea of vocation is unfamiliar. The idea that you choose something as serious as what to work on because of considerations other than what is good for your future and that of your family – in largely financial terms – that choice can seem suspect.


    What you like working on, what you enjoy doing, is something that can be fleeting. We are all familiar with the feeling of excitement at starting a new hobby or an online course, only to have that passion for the subject fade after the summer and a few weeks into the online program.


    Intuition is better than feelings. Intuition is a heftier, more solid concept. It’s not just feelings or what you like or enjoy. It’s something that deep down in your gut you know to be true about yourself.

    Anyone can begin wanting to take karate classes after watching a the “Karate Kid” but fewer can have that intuition that they will be good at karate. This sometimes relies on a past history and awareness of strengths and weaknesses.

    What Did People Notice About You as a Child?

    We accumulate responsibilities as we age and have to satisfy other peoples’ expectations. Taking on responsibilities is part of becoming an adult. There are a million voices in society telling children what a respectable and responsible adult looks like. The voices of convention and authority are loud. They can drown out memories of what we were good at as a child.

    Our core personalities and natural inclinations are formed long before we become adults. Sure, ten thousand hours of deliberate practice is the benchmark for mastery, but ten thousand hours starting at age 7 or 13 is quite different from those hours logged at age 25 or 30.

    Did you notice your mom tell you you talk too much? That can be a clue. Were you chastised for being too argumentative? Or were your praised for being a good listener? Did you spend time after school drawing pictures or did you spend it playing sports? These questions can give important clues about natural abilities and inclinations.

    If you think hard enough you might find you’ve already logged a few thousand hours on one part of a skillset that can help you make a living – and you did it all as a child or teenager, part of a natural mix of talents.

    The Meaning of Vocation

    We are already fully developed persons by the time of our mid to late twenties. It can, therefore, seem abstract to ask “what do I really want to do with my life?” as if it’s purely a matter of personal choice. The fact is we don’t have the power to completely start over and mold ourselves into whoever we want. It’s a romantic notion until reality rears its ugly head.

    Maybe it’s better to ask “what am I called to do?” and “where am I called to be?” and that is really the meaning of vocation. It’s a word that is sometimes used in the context of following a religious path. But it’s something that implies that life events – whether good or regrettable – are connected in a meaningful way and embedded with a deeper purpose. These events that contribute to your formation are the voices that you should take time to hear and listen to.

    It is a very worthy endeavor to clear the calendar, decompress and take time to hear and listen.

    Much is made of “Eat, Pray, Love” type of soul searching. But nothing is more fulfilling than traveling and reaching the intersection of where you need to go and where you are most needed.

    Read more about Finding your Purpose:

    Love and Relationships

  • Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine

    Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine

    Why I Stopped Hating the Quarantine | It’s easy to feel down while in quarantine. Few of us have had experiences similar to this period of isolation and staying at home. Sitting idly at home, staring at the ceiling; or staring at a screen can become a default way of dealing with this crisis.

    At the same time, this crisis will pass most of us by as one huge missed opportunity. For most of us, this will be the only chance to change our habits for the better.  

    We are creatures of habit and our lives are defined by the finite games that compose it. School is a game with rules, i.e. studying hard leads to good grades. Our jobs are another such structure with written and unwritten rules of reward and punishment. Relationships also have written and unwritten rules that evolve according to where the relationship is heading.

    We can complain about the government, the feeling of lack of freedom and agency, but what is really happening is the disruption of our daily routines and structures.

    There is an upshot to this disruption.

    We rediscover our sense of agency and ability to transform our lives.

    So, instead of the tendency to buy coffee from Starbucks, I’ve found out that I can just brew coffee using a French press and find value in doing this at home. Instead of eating out, I’ve found out that I can improve my cooking skills. Become healthier by eating home-cooked meals. I am unable to physically meet up with people but I’ve come to realize the value of connecting with family and friends and a sense of belonging to a global community.

    I can be tempted into pessimism and be critical of the government’s way of managing the crisis but I have also come to understand I have a long way to go to substantially improve just one unit of society – myself.

    This pandemic has brought us to bear on the reality of life observed by Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

    I stopped lamenting my loss of freedom when I realized that I was undervaluing its use.

    This is an opportunity to live lives with less distraction but with more intent, whole-hearted acceptance, and ownership of our actions.

    Let’s make the most of this quarantine period.

    – KCV

    P.S. We’ve created a podcast too during quarantine– it’s called What do you think of?. Check it out, or learn how to start your own podcast.

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